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2018 NFL Draft scouting report: the case for and against quarterback Josh Allen

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The Bills could very well look to draft the physically talented quarterback out of Wyoming

Possibly the most polarizing quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, Josh Allen is nonetheless expected to be drafted in the first ten picks. What follows is a discussion of what the Buffalo Bills will see, both positively and negatively, when they evaluate the Wyoming signal caller.

Background

A multi-sport athlete in high school, Allen didn’t receive any college offers and was forced to go the junior college route. At Reedley College, he was able to get himself noticed by Wyoming and Eastern Michigan, eventually deciding on Wyoming. After an injury and medical redshirt season, Allen stepped on to the field in 2016 as Wyoming’s starter and threw for 3202 yards at 8.6 yards per attempt and a completion percentage of 56. Eventually deciding against declaring, Allen came into 2017 with high expectations. After abysmal games against Power-5 schools Iowa and Oregon, Allen injured his shoulder against in a game against Air Force in November. Following a dominant bowl performance against Central Michigan, Allen finished with 1812 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and a completion percentage of 56.3.

The case for Allen

Any discussion of what Josh Allen can provide for an NFL team must start with his overwhelming physical abilities. He has an ideal NFL frame at 6’5”, 237 pounds and his hand size is above-average at 10 1/8 inches. That frame makes Allen a difficult quarterback for defenders to sack or tackle and his tape is full of examples of Allen bullying his way for a first down. Allen’s arm strength is phenomenal. That allows him to attempt and complete passes few quarterbacks can. NFL offensive coordinators would appreciate the scheme flexibility Allen’s arm can afford them. As Wyoming runs a largely pro-style scheme, Allen spent most of his time under center, utilizing pro-style concepts like full-field reads, play-action fakes and bootlegs. He also throws very well on the run, despite demonstrating poor mechanics in those instances.

Allen is a fit for the Erhardt-Perkins scheme that Bills coordinator Brian Daboll will be bringing to Buffalo. The E-P system utilizes play-action fakes and audibles, both things Allen has experience with. Allen also has the requisite athleticism to run the zone-read, something that Daboll was known for implementing at Alabama.

The case against Allen

As is frequently the case with strong-armed quarterbacks, Allen trusts his ability to fit passes into tight windows far too much. Often, Allen would attempt risky throws, when a checkdown would have been the smarter option. As such, he’s a streaky passer, with completions and incompletions coming in bunches. Allen’s aptitude at reading the field and diagnosing coverages post-snap is lacking. Although he flashed the ability to step up in the pocket, Allen’s inability to sense pressure often resulted in sacks or unnecessary rollouts. All these deficiencies resulted in a career completion percentage of 56 percent, well under the level considered acceptable for prospects coming out of college. As previously noted, Allen struggled when facing premier competition. The worst games of his career came against Nebraska, Iowa, and Oregon.

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